I am interested in knowing why the NEWTON "experts" rarely cite any sources
for their answers. If these experts were to write a scientific paper would
they completely disregard stating the sources of their information.
Additionally, it would be nice to know the titles of these "experts." Time
and again I have read environmental questions that were answered either biased
or blatantly incorrect. One way to solve this problem would to have all
answers supplemented with the source - and if not this, then at least the name
and title of the expert. I like to judge the information by the source that
gave it -- we all know that many sources have a definite bias. I think it is
a shame when many wrong answers are reported to elementary and junior high
students...it is these students who have to make judgments and form opinions
based on what NEWTON is feeding them. It just seems that sourcing your
information is nothing more than scientific etiquette.
In general I agree, but it really depends on the nature of the question. I
include sources when appropriate. It is not appropriate for questions I can
answer off the top of my head or that are general information. As for who
these experts are, scientists' biographies are under AskAScientInformation
Ah, good point. I try to give sources when possible, but sometimes I just
shoot my mouth off. Controversy and debate are good for science. I certainly
hope no one accepts the opinions offered here as gospel, attaching undue
authority to our often hasty replies.
Some I was a n early advocate of responders citing sources. But you have to
realize that (1) some answers to questions are so well known as to constitute
what I would call "common knowledge," (although a source is still very helpful
to those who are asking the question to go and read more about it), and (2)
many of us volunteers are not sitting comfortably in our offices with a stack
of books piled around us. I log on as I can, when possible, and answer
questions as I am able. When I see one I do not know off the top of my head,
I print it out locally and take it to my office, where I look up the answer
and come back later (maybe several days later) to answer it.
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Update: June 2012